Friday, November 25, 2016


My mother would pore over the Burpee seed catalog and she would order and plant a different vegetable yearly.   We were exposed to rutabaga, kohlrabi, Jerusalem artichoke, and a variety of squashes (acorn, turban, spaghetti, and patty pan) and one year she grew WHITE sweet potatoes and another time she tried to grow yams. 

Most people have never tasted a true yam.  Yams are the starchy edible root of the DIOSCOREA genus and are generally imported from the Caribbean.  Yams have rough and scaly skins and are very low in beta carotene.

Sweet potato flesh can vary from white to orange and even purple.  The USDA requires orange-colored sweet potatoes to be labeled "sweet potatoes" but people are still confused about the differences between sweet potatoes and yams.  Yesterday, in Kroger,  I saw cans labeled "yams" and I wondered how that escaped the USDA as the contents were obviously sweet potatoes and   "cut sweet potatoes" also shows on the label!

HERE IS A QUIZ:  answer yam or sweet potato.  Answers below.

1.  I am a tuberous root with sweet, moist flesh.

2.  I am originally from Africa and rarely sold in the United States.

3.  I am super sweet and can grow over 7 feet in length.

4.  My skin can range from thin and pale to thick and dark.

5.  I am toxic when eaten raw but perfectly safe when cooked.

6.  I am known for high content of vitamins A and C.

7.  I have rough skin which is difficult to peel and can even be hairy at times.

8. My flesh can sometimes be white, orange, or purple.

9.  I have an oblong body with tapered ends.

10.  I have very low glycemic index which is a special benefit to diabetics.


1.  BOTH
2.  YAMS
3.  YAMS
5.  YAMS
7.  YAMS
8.  BOTH
10.  BOTH

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